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Docs Around Town: Oct. 10 – Oct. 16

Center Aisle Cinema - October 9, 2014


October 10: 20,000 Days on Earth” starts at  Ragtag. (via)
October 13:
 “Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me” 5:00 p.m. & 7:00 p.m. at  Forum 8. (via)
October 14: “Unfair: Exposing the IRS” 7:00 p.m. at  Forum 8. (via)

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Journey to Make a Quilt

DBRL Next - October 8, 2014

I recently found myself in a little bit of a fix. I needed to get my brother a gift for his wedding. As an artist, I felt obligated to make him something because, well, making things is what I do. I love to sew, and this grand idea of making a quilt took over me. Now, eighty percent of a quilt later, I’m thrilled to be close to finishing but also sick of sewing.

Photo of an unfinished quilt

This is my quilt. It has yet to have edging, needs to be trimmed down and still requires a few more feet of quilting. Before I decided on this pattern, I spent hours flipping through quilting books from the library’s collection.

I started by looking at various patterns. “Kaffe Fassett’s Quilts in the Sun” by Kaffe Fassett, was one of my favorite books. The way she mixes floral prints is breathtaking. I was very inspired by her work and plan to, one day very far from when I finish this project,  make one of her diamond quilts.

Another one of my favorites is “City Quilts” by Cherri House. I thought the designs were modern and simple, yet elegant. I was inspired by the fabric choices in this book and tried to incorporate some of the modern simplicity of “City Quilts” into my own design.

I spent a lot of time practicing continuous-line machine-quilting, specifically designs from “Doodle Quilting” by Cheryl Malkowski and “Mindful Meandering” by Laura Lee Fritz. Continuous-line quilting is amazing, but it’s also very hard. Imagine trying to tug a 30 pound quilt around a tiny needle. After half an hour, I need a break because my forearms ache from pulling around so much fabric. Although it’s hard work, machine quilting is still faster than hand quilting, and it still has that human hand feeling unlike programmed machine quilting.

If you want to learn this style, practicing it is going to be very important. I did not practice enough and had to rip out a good chunk of my quilting stitches before I got into a good rhythm.

Photograph of a continuous line pattern on a quilt

This is a close up of my continuous-line pattern. I went with zigzags for a third of the quilt, and swirls for the rest. As you can see, the swirls are far from perfect.

I also checked out and used “The Quilting Bible: The Complete Photo Guide to Machine Quilting” for basic quilting information I didn’t know. For example, you shouldn’t iron every seam open. You should only finger press them. I destroyed quite a few quilt pillow tests this way, because my ironing was causing the fabric to warp all over the place. I only found out this was a problem after hunkering down with “The Quilting Bible” and reading up on the basics.

The library has a HUGE collection of quilting books. You will spend hours going through all of them, and somewhere on that shelf is a quilt design that’s perfect for you. Just be prepared for a lot of work, time and – if you are buying new fabric – money.

Good luck, my quilters!

The post Journey to Make a Quilt appeared first on DBRL Next.

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Great Graphic Novels for Children & Teens

DBRLTeen - October 7, 2014

Great Graphic NovelsGraphic novels are simply stories organized in a comic-strip format. With the popularity of books like “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” and “Dork Diaries,” there has been dramatic growth in the quantity and quality of graphic novels available for children and teens.

Graphic novels are a great tool to use with reluctant readers. Text is broken down into manageable chunks, instead of lengthy chapters, and illustrations provide context clues that enhance comprehension. Graphic novels allow children and teens to gain confidence in their reading skills while learning to like reading in a way they may never have before. These books are also helpful when working with children with special needs and English-language learners.

The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), has created Graphic Novel Reading Lists intended for children from kindergarten through 8th grade. The books on this list are  defined as a full-length story told in paneled, sequential, graphic format. The graphic novels chosen for these lists include classics as well as new titles that have been widely recommended and well-reviewed, and books that have popular appeal as well as critical acclaim. Below is the list of those titles appropriate for teens in grades 6-8. 

Anne Frank: The Anne Frank House Authorized Graphic Biography” by Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colón
Drawing on the unique historical sites, archives, and expertise of the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, this authorized biography is the complete account of the lives of Anne’s parents, her first years in Frankfurt, the rise of Nazism, her life in the annex, and her arrest and tragic death in Bergen-Belsen.

Anya’s Ghost” by Vera Brosgol
When Russian American teenager Anya falls down a well and meets the ghost of a girl who was killed, they become fast friends as Emily helps Anya, and Anya vows to solve Emily’s murder.

“The Arrival” by Shaun Tan
A wordless but very moving story about a lonely man who has just arrived in a new city in a world not unlike our own.

Best Shot in the West: The Adventures of Nat Love” by Patricia C. McKissack and Frederick L. McKissack Jr., illustrated by Randy DuBurke
This exciting story follows the life of legendary Nat Love, a former slave and one of the most famous cowboys of the Old West.

Bone: Out from Boneville” by Jeff Smith
The adventure starts when cousins Fone Bone, Phoney Bone, and Smiley Bone are run out of Boneville and later get separated in the wilderness, meeting monsters and making friends as they attempt to return home.

Cardboard” by Doug TenNapel
A simple birthday gift of a cardboard box turns into something more when a boy and his father discover that whatever they make out of the cardboard is capable of coming to life! Also recommended by this author: “Ghostopolis.”

Chiggers” by Hope Larson
Summer camp angst follows Abby, a girl attempting to make new friends, who finds that her alliance with weirdo Shasta puts her in danger of becoming an outcast herself.

Coraline” by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by P. Craig Russell
When Coraline steps through a secret door in her house, she finds a marvelous new world much better than her own. However, when her “other mother” wants to keep her there forever, she must use her wits and the help of an all-knowing cat to return to the real world in this graphic novel version of Gaiman’s popular title.

Drama” by Raina Telgemeier
Drama abounds on and off the stage in this hilarious take on school theater productions. Also recommended by this author: “Smile.”

Foiled” by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Mike Cavallaro
Aliera is a star at fencing, but at school no one notices her—until her new lab partner Avery begins flirting with her. Will Aliera’s first date be ruined when magical creatures try to steal her foil?

Friends with Boys” by Faith Erin Hicks
A young homeschooler transitions to high school, along with the mystery of the ghost who has followed her most of her life.

A Game for Swallows: To Die, to Leave, to Return” by Zeina Abirached
Zeina’s parents have not returned from visiting the other half of divided Beirut during the civil war in Lebanon. Zeina gathers with neighbors in the safest place in the apartment, where they play games, talk and support one another.

Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword” by Barry Deutsch
Mirka Herschberg lives in an Orthodox Jewish family and dreams of fighting dragons. A witch appears and issues a challenge, giving Mirka the chance she has always wanted.

Jane, the Fox, and Me” by Fanny Britt, illustrated by Isabel Arsenault, translated by Susan Ouriou and Christelle Morelli
Hélène delves deep into the world of Jane Eyre to escape the cruelty of her everyday life at school, until she meets a friend in an unlikely location.

“Kampung Boy” by Lat
Lat, a noted Malaysian cartoonist, tells the story of the early life of a Muslim boy growing up on a rubber plantation during the 1950s. The sequel is “Town Boy.”

Laika” by Nick Abadzis
History comes alive in the heartbreaking tale of a little stray street pup that was chosen to become a worldwide sensation in the space race.

Lewis & Clark” by Nick Bertozzi
This historically accurate graphic novel begins with President Jefferson’s call to explore the western region and continues beyond the conclusion of the famed Lewis and Clark expedition.

Little White Duck: A Childhood in China” by Na Liu and Andrés Vera Martínez
A fictionalized memoir of a youth spent in post-Mao China. By turns touching, funny and smart, this graphic novel offers a slice of life in a distant country.

Marble Season” by Gilbert Hernandez
This semiautobiographical story traces the escapades of the author and his siblings and friends in 1960s California as they grow from infants to teens.

Page by Paige” by Laura Lee Gulledge
When Paige’s family relocates to New York City, she has to start over. As she fills up a sketchbook, she finds the courage to become exactly who she wants to be.

Rapunzel’s Revenge” by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale
Two traditional fairy tales— “Rapunzel” and “Jack and the Beanstalk”—merge in a fresh and funny adventure with a western flair. The sequel is “Calamity Jack.”

“Save Yourself” by Jeremy Whitley, edited by David Dwonch, illustrated by M. Goodwin
Princess Adrienne is no damsel in distress. Along with Sparky, her dragon, she will rescue herself and have a few adventures in the meantime.

The Storm in the Barn” by Matt Phelan
It’s Kansas in 1937, and life is bleak during the Dust Bowl. Jack is left to his imagination in this graphic novel that is part historical fiction, part tall tale.

Trickster: Native American Tales: A Graphic Collection” edited by Matt Dembicki
This collaborative effort by more than 40 writers and artists presents 21 Native American trickster tales in graphic novel format.

“Twin Spica” by Kou Yaginuma
Asumi wants to be part of Japan’s first manned space mission. Does she have what it takes?

Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty” by G. Neri, illustrated by Randy DuBurke
Based on true events and told through the eyes of a younger boy, this graphic novel tells the story of Robert (“Yummy”) as he tries to navigate the dangerous world of a Chicago neighborhood.

Zebrafish” by Sharon Emerson, illustrated by Renée Kurilla
Vita and the members of her rock band Zebrafish raise money to help the children’s hospital where one band member is receiving cancer treatments.

Originally published at Great Graphic Novels for Children & Teens.

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New DVD: “Next Goal Wins”

Center Aisle Cinema - October 6, 2014


We recently added “Next Goal Wins” to the DBRL collection. The currently has a rating of 100% from audiences at Rotten Tomatoes. Here’s a synopsis from our catalog:

Dutch coach Thomas Rongen attempts the nearly impossible task of turning the American Samoa soccer team from perennial losers into winners. With the power of hope in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds, both coach and players learn an object lesson in what it really means to be a winner in life.

Check out the film trailer or the official film site for more info.

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If You Enjoyed Boys in the Boat…

DBRL Next - October 6, 2014

Book cover for Seabiscuit by Laura HillenbrandBook cover for Boys in the BoatWe have a bit of a One Read hangover around here. After spending an intense month exploring Daniel James Brown’s “The Boys in the Boat” through numerous programs celebrating Olympic sport and the American spirit, we find ourselves feeling a little bit down and a little adrift. What next? If you are in the same boat (ha, ha), here are some reading suggestions to fill that One Read-shaped hole in your life.

A no-brainer read-alike for this year’s community read is “Seabiscuit” by Laura Hillenbrand. Also set during the depression, this work of nonfiction is another inspiring look at an unlikely winner, a racehorse that made history despite his short legs and knobby knees.

Many of our readers surprised themselves by not only enjoying the moving story of Joe Rantz but also becoming deeply curious about the sport of rowing. In “The Amateurs,” David Halberstam profiles the struggles of four unknown young men who compete to represent the U.S. as its lone single sculler in the 1984 Olympics. Like in Brown’s book, the athletes’ stories and descriptions of their singular dedication make for compelling reading, as do richly described rowing competitions. While not rowing-related, Halberstam’s “The Teammates” – which follows the friendship of Boston Red Sox teammates Ted Williams, Bobby Doerr, Dom DiMaggio and Johnny Pesky from their playing days in the 1940s to Ted Williams’ death in 2002 – would also be a great choice for sports fans.

Maybe you loved how Brown wove extensive research into his book. You may find other works of historical narrative nonfiction appealing. Like Brown, Lawrence Goldstone uses extensive research in “Birdmen: The Wright Brothers, Glenn Curtiss, and the Battle to Control the Skies” to present Orville and Wilbur Wright and their rival as complex and fully-formed characters. Goldstone weaves the history of aviation into his narrative and creates a palpable sense of the spirit of innovation that infused the dawn of the 20th century.

What works of narrative nonfiction would you recommend? Let us know in the comments.

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Reader Review: Leaving Everything Most Loved

DBRL Next - October 3, 2014

Editor’s note: This review was submitted by a library patron during the 2014 Adult Summer Reading program. We will continue to periodically share some of these reviews throughout the year.

leavingeverythingmostlovedMaisie Dobbs is a female detective living in London after WWI. Maisie was born in a working class family, but through her grace and extreme intelligence she has gone beyond the standard social and gender barriers to earn her education and establish her own detective agency. This book is the tenth in the Maisie Dobbs series, and the mystery centers around a murder committed due to class barriers and prejudice. All the mysteries in the series merge with England during the historic time frame, so not only are you reading about a good mystery story, but you are also exposed to social issues that are occurring in England.

Three words that describe this book: engaging, strong, female

You might want to pick this book up if: If you love reading a good mystery story over a hot cup of tea.


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Docs Around Town: Oct. 3 – Oct. 9

Center Aisle Cinema - October 2, 2014


October 6: “Burt’s Buzz” 5:00 p.m. & 7:00 p.m. at  Forum 8. (via)
October 7: When I Walk” 6:00 p.m. at  Ragtag, free. (via)

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Thank You for Being a Part of One Read 2014

One Read - October 1, 2014

Boys-Boat-PB-web-medA big thank you to all of you who read or listened to “The Boys in the Boat” by Daniel James Brown and joined us for one of this year’s outstanding One Read events.  Over the past month we have explored the Great Depression and the build up to WWII. We have celebrated Olympic sport and the American spirit. We have investigated the themes and topics in this book through discussions, lectures, films and art. We appreciate the hundreds of you who attended events and promoted this book to your book clubs, your coworkers and your families. Thank you for your support.

We capped off the month with Brown delivering his keynote address at Columbia College’s Launer Auditorium, and he graciously shared his own story as a writer and researcher, as well as that of Joe Rantz and his teammates.

Our sincere thanks to you for being a part of this year’s One Read!

The post Thank You for Being a Part of One Read 2014 appeared first on One READ.

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Need to Spice Up Your Life? Make Your Own Hot Sauce!

DBRL Next - October 1, 2014

bottle of SrirachaWho doesn’t love a good hot sauce? Tabasco, Frank’s and Cholula are just some of the many different ways to liven up a meal. Beyond adding some heat to your dish, capsaicin, the spicy chemical in peppers, causes the brain to release endorphins, which are strong natural painkillers. I recently checked out The Hot Sauce Cookbook, which contains recipes for spicy foods and hot sauces from all over the world, paired with historical and cultural backgrounds of the dishes. Some of the recipes include the Ethiopian berbere, nuoc mam cham (of Vietnam), a Yucatan salsa called xnipec, and piri-piri, a Portuguese-African sauce. Learning about these condiments was really interesting, and I was excited to find a recipe for one of my favorites, Sriracha.

Photo of Sriracha chipsSriracha is originally a Thai sauce, which traveled to America and carved a distinct place in our culture. The “rooster sauce” was created by a housewife named Thanom Chakkapak in Thailand in the 1930s. Her friends loved her recipe so much they encouraged her to sell it commercially, and when she did, it became the best selling hot sauce in Thailand. The US incarnation of Sriracha has been around since 1980, when it was popularized by the brand Huy Fong (the one with a green lid and picture of a rooster on the bottle). Recently the company was in the news when they were accused of making the entire town of Irwindale, California cry with their factory’s spicy fumes. As one of America’s most popular condiments, sriracha also holds a place in our popular culture. The sauce is used in many major corporate restaurants, including Subway and White Castle, and there are even Sriracha-flavored potato chips and candy canes. Earlier this summer the Chinese American Museum in Los Angeles held an art show exploring the impact of Sriracha and Tapatio, another popular hot sauce, on that part of our country.

Cookbook in hand, I decided to try my hand at making Sriracha. Making it took longer than I’d anticipated (you have to ferment it for 1-2 weeks), but the end result was good, and tasted similar to the store-bought product, with a few differences. I couldn’t find red jalapenos, so I used green ones instead (which made the end product green as well). My Sriracha also turned out slightly chunkier in texture than the popular Huy Fong brand’s sauce, and it seemed to be more spicy (probably because I didn’t take all of the seeds out. Here is the recipe I followed (from The Hot Sauce Cookbook).

Photo of fresh jalapenos

The first step is to make a fermented pepper mash out of about 2 pounds of red chiles (I used green jalapenos). For this you will need:

  • 2 pounds of peppers (classic Sriracha is made with red jalapenos, but they’re hard to find. Using green ones will still give you a similar taste.)
  • 1/4 cup of salt

Photo of cut peppers

Next cut the peppers in half lengthwise. Wearing gloves will prevent your hands from getting spicy.

Photo of mashed peppers

Put the peppers in a stainless steel bowl, sprinkle them with 1/4 cup of salt, and mash them up with a potato masher until they are soft and bruised, yet still intact. Let them sit uncovered in the bowl overnight. The next morning there should be a layer of liquid at the bottom of the bowl.

Transfer the peppers and liquid to a mason jar, and fill the jar with water. Loosely seal the jar with a canning lid and set it on top of some towels. The mixture will fizz and spill over the jar during the next few days. Fill the jar with more peppers or water as needed. Allow the peppers to ferment for at least one week, and up to two weeks.

Photo of peppers in a food processor

After they’ve fermented, dump the sauce into a jar. Using gloves, pull out as many seeds as you can, while putting the jalapenos into a food processor. When you’ve got them all in, strain the liquid left over and add it to the food processor. Blend.

Congratulations, the hardest part is over! Now all you have to do is blend the following ingredients together in a food processor:

  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 cup of the pureed pepper mash that you just made
  • 2 garlic cloves (I used more like 5)

Now go put your homemade Sriracha on everything you eat. If you’re running out of ideas, this book can give you some tips on recipes to make with your hot sauce.  Happy spicy eating!

The post Need to Spice Up Your Life? Make Your Own Hot Sauce! appeared first on DBRL Next.

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New DVD: “Lost Angels”

Center Aisle Cinema - September 29, 2014


We recently added “Lost Angels: Skid Row Is My Home” to the DBRL collection. The film currently has a rating of 100% from critics at Rotten Tomatoes. Here’s a synopsis from our catalog:

Looks at the plight of eight homeless persons living in the Skid Row section of downtown Los Angeles. Examines the effects of gentrification, mental illness and drug abuse, and the criminalization of homelessness on the individuals profiled.

Check out the film trailer or the official film site for more info.

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Top Ten Books Librarians Love: The October 2014 List

DBRL Next - September 29, 2014

Library Reads LogoIt’s nearly October. The days grow shorter and the temperatures colder. Halloween is on the horizon. So it seems appropriate that a ghost story of sorts tops this month’s LibraryReads list, the top 10 books publishing this month that librarian’s love. Make a cup of hot tea, curl up under your favorite blanket and lose yourself in one of these titles.

Book cover for A Sudden LightA Sudden Light
by Garth Stein
“Garth Stein has given us a masterpiece. This beautiful story takes readers on a thrilling exploration of a family estate brimming with generations of riveting Riddell family ghosts and secrets. This is a true exploratory novel, taking readers through secret passageways, hidden rooms and darkened corridors that engage all of the senses.”
- Whitney Gayle, James Blackstone Memorial Library, Branford, CT

Book cover for Leaving TimeLeaving Time
by Jodi Picoult
“Leaving Time is a love story – love between mother and child, love between soulmates and love between elephants. The story is told from a variety of narrators, all of whom are broken and lost. Jenna is searching for answers to the disappearance of her mother and seeks the help of a retired police detective and a psychic. Alice, Jenna’s mom, disappeared after a tragic accident at the elephant sanctuary, and her work with the elephants is fascinating and touching. The book is an ode to motherhood in all its forms – the good, bad and the ugly – and it is brilliant.”
- Kimberly McGee, Lake Travis Community Library, Austin, TX

 inconceivable tales from the making of The Princess BrideAs You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of the Princess Bride
by Cary Elwes with Joe Layden
“Even if you don’t have a crush on Cary Elwes, you’ll enjoy this vivid behind-the-scenes account of the making of The Princess Bride. His stories, especially those involving Andre the Giant, will leave you in stitches. Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin, Billy Crystal and others also recount their experiences. An amusing account of a group of performers who came together to make a heartfelt film that is loved by many.”
- Emily Weiss, Bedford Public Library, Bedford, NH

Here’s the rest of the October list with links to these on-order titles in our catalog for your hold-placing pleasure. Happy reading.

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Feeding Your Hunger for Roots N Blues N BBQ

DBRL Next - September 26, 2014

Preservation Hall Jazz Band, 2014 Roots N Blues N BBQ featured artistsIt’s Roots N Blues N BBQ time in mid-Missouri, which has us all hankering for good music and good food. If this festival leaves you hungry for more music from this year’s featured artists or inspired to fire up your own grill, your library has plenty of materials to satisfy your cravings!

New since last year’s festival is Hoopla, a service that allows you to stream and download music (and audiobooks, movies and television shows) to your smartphone, tablet or computer. You never have to wait to listen to music through Hoopla, because more than one person can access the same  album at the same time. Want to listen to Roots N Blues artists Avett Brothers or Amos Lee right now? You can, through Hoopla.

If you like traditional formats, we also have plenty of CDs for check out from David Wax Museum, Rosanne Cash, Los Lobos, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and other festival headliners.

Finally, if you haven’t gotten your fill of grilled meats, we have a whole slew of cookbooks for you to drool over. Enjoy!



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Docs Around Town: Sept. 26 – Oct. 2

Center Aisle Cinema - September 25, 2014


September 29: “Code Black” 5:00 p.m. & 7:00 p.m. at  Forum 8. (via)
October 1: Tim’s Vermeer” 8:00 p.m. at Wrench Auditorium, free. (via)
October 2:Food Stamped” 8:00 p.m. at MU Student Center, free. (via)

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Program Preview: Ashland Scavenger Hunt

DBRLTeen - September 25, 2014

Scavenger Hunt

Starting October 1, stop by the Southern Boone County Public Library in Ashland to pick up a list of challenges and clues for a library scavenger hunt. You can work solo or with a team of friends.  Bring in your list and proof of completed tasks to the first ever Ashland Tween Night on Friday, October 17 at 6:30 p.m. Scavenger Hunt winners will receive a Barnes & Noble gift card. Ages 11 and older. Parental permission required.

Originally published at Program Preview: Ashland Scavenger Hunt.

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A Sweetener Like No Other: Celebrating National Honey Month

DBRL Next - September 24, 2014

North Charleston Farmer's MarketImagine being an ancient human and stumbling upon honey for the first time. Maybe you were out foraging for food in the forest and observed another creature, perhaps a bear, clawing around in a tree cavity and blissfully licking something golden from her paw, while batting at winged creatures buzzing angrily around her face. You waited her out and then crept up to the tree and found a chunk of something sticky and waxy on the ground. You swiped your finger across it and dabbed the substance on your tongue. Mmmm…whatever this was and however it got there, you wanted to share the news with your clan and figure out a way to make this thick liquid sweetness a regular part of your life.

Book cover for Natural BeekeepingHoney, the first sweetener known to humankind, has been prized as a food (and for medicinal properties) for thousands of years. It is no wonder that it tastes so lusciously divine, because it is essentially a reduction of flower nectar. The early honey hunters likely broke hives from tree branches and brought the hives home. Later, humans got the big idea to try and “keep” bees, and they devised cavities for bees to live in so they would manufacture their honey close by. Early beekeepers constructed hives that varied from mud or clay pots to wicker baskets to straw skeps. Later, in the 1850’s, a fellow named Langstroth devised a wooden hive that was so sweet-spot-on in design and usefulness that it remains the hive of choice by today’s modern beekeepers.

Book cover for Taste of HoneySo humans and bees have had an intimate relationship (with the aid of smoke which calms the bees while their hives are harvested) for a very long time. Honey is not the only reason bees are revered by humans. Bees build comb out of self-generated wax in which to store their honey and brood (baby bees); this wax is harvested to make candles and to use as an ingredient in cosmetics. Pollen, also gathered by bees to feed their young, is collected and consumed for its therapeutic properties.

Perhaps the most important of all the gifts we receive from honey bees is their fertilization (or pollination) of plants, a natural act completed in their process of gathering nectar and pollen. As they fly from flower to flower, they transfer pollen grains between the blossoms – this pollinating activity is what makes large scale agricultural production possible. It’s because of the bees that we have fruits and vegetables amply available to us. In fact we are truly dependent on them for much of our food supply.

So it was with great alarm, back around 2004, that beekeepers started to report that bees were mysteriously vanishing in droves. This syndrome of disappearance now has the name “Colony Collapse Disorder,” and though its exact causes are not known, likely culprits include pesticides, mite infections and malnutrition. So with this dark turn of events, how can we celebrate National Honey Month and the honey bees? I believe it is imperative that we support organic farming methods because these methods avoid the use of pesticides that are damaging to honey bees as well as other beneficial insects. And we can support our beekeepers by purchasing their honey and other bee products, of course.

Photo credit: North Charleston via photopin cc

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Classics for Everyone: Maya Angelou

DBRL Next - September 22, 2014

Book cover for I Know Why the Caged Bird SingsI like to think of Maya Angelou as a native Missourian, although she spent only a small percentage of her life in the state.  She was born in St. Louis in 1928 with the name Marguerite Anne Johnson. Upon the break-up of her parents’ marriage when she was three years old, she and her older brother Bailey were sent to live with their paternal grandmother in Stamps, Arkansas.

This is where her story begins in the memoir “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.” The most well-known of her books, it follows her life through the age of 17, ending with the birth of her son. She shared more about her remarkable life in subsequent volumes, conducting readers on a tour of the circuitous route that led to her achievements as an author, poet, performer, activist and San Francisco’s first black streetcar conductor. It’s a truly American story:  a scared little girl feeling abandoned by her parents grows up to present an inaugural poem for one president and receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom from another.

But some details show less pleasant aspects of the country, including troubled race relations.  Angelou describes her grandmother’s worried anguish when by-then teenaged Bailey fails to come home on time. “The Black woman in the South who raised sons, grandsons and nephews had her heartstrings tied to a hanging noose.”

Maya and Bailey found themselves shuttled back and forth a few times among parents and grandparents. It was during their second St. Louis sojourn that one of the most disturbing events of the book happened – 8-year-old Maya was raped by her mother’s boyfriend. The child stopped speaking to anyone but her brother. But after they returned to Arkansas, something inspiring occurred. Her grandmother’s neighbor and friend, Mrs. Bertha Flowers, helped her regain her voice through the power of literature, inviting the girl to read great books with her.

Eventually Maya’s parents both migrated to California, and the two kids followed. This is where the story wraps up, but not before some major learning and growth on Maya’s part, including a short stint as a runaway living on the streets. She fell in with a group of other homeless teens, who provided her first experience of true cooperation and equality among different races. The influence was lasting, and her words about it seem like a good place to conclude, as they describe so much of her life’s work: “After hunting down unbroken bottles and selling them with a white girl from Missouri, a Mexican girl from Los Angeles and a Black girl from Oklahoma, I was never again to sense myself so solidly outside the pale of the human race. The lack of criticism evidenced by our ad hoc community influenced me, and set a tone of tolerance for my life.”

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New DVD: “The Trials of Muhammad Ali”

Center Aisle Cinema - September 22, 2014


We recently added “The Trials of Muhammad Ali” to the DBRL collection. The film played earlier this year on the PBS series Independent Lens and currently has a rating of 92% from critics at Rotten Tomatoes. Here’s a synopsis from our catalog:

The powerful documentary examines the life of Muhammad Ali beyond the boxing ring to offer a personal perspective on the American sporting legend. Investigating Ali’s spiritual transformation includes his conversion to Islam, resistance to the Vietnam War draft, and humanitarian work. The documentary connects Ali’s transcendent life story to America’ struggles with race, religion, and war in the twentieth century.

Check out the film trailer or the official film site for more info.

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October 9 Registration Deadline for November SAT Exam

DBRLTeen - September 22, 2014

The Official SAT Study GuideThe registration deadline for the November 8 SAT exam is Thursday, October 9. Sign-up online.

If you would like to know more about testing locations, exam costs and fee waivers, please visit our  online guide to SAT/ACT preparation. The library also has a wide selection of printed ACT and SAT test guides for you to borrow.

Our most popular resource for test-takers, though, is LearningExpress Library. Through this website, you may take free online practice tests for the ACT or SAT exam. To access LearningExpress Library, you will need to login using your DBRL library card number. Your PIN is your birthdate (MMDDYYYY).  If you have questions or encounter difficulties logging in, please call  (800) 324-4806.

Finally, don’t forget to subscribe to our blog updates for regular reminders of upcoming test registration deadlines!

Originally published at October 9 Registration Deadline for November SAT Exam.

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Author Antony John Visits October 16

DBRLTeen - September 19, 2014

Antony John Collage

Young Adult Author Antony John will visit the Columbia Public Library on Thursday October 16 at 7 p.m. Antony is the author of the award-winning book “Five Flavors of Dumb” as well as “Elemental” which is a current Truman Award nominee.

Before moving to St. Louis, Antony lived in England where he was raised on a balanced diet of fish and chips, obscure British comedies and ABBA’s Greatest Hits. Along his journey to becoming a writer, he worked as an ice cream seller on a freezing English beach, a tour guide in the Netherlands, a chauffeur in Switzerland, a barista in Seattle, and a university professor.

Five Flavors of Dumb” was Antony’s second book for young adults and won the prestigious Schneider Family Book Award. This award honors writers for their creative depiction of what it’s like to live with a disability. Dumb is not the name Piper, a high school senior who is Deaf, would have chosen for a heavy metal band, yet she volunteers to manage this disparate group of would-be musicians.  In her attempt to make Dumb profitable, Piper learns a few things about music and business, striking a chord within herself. Read the first chapter on Antony’s website.

Elemental” is the first book in Anthony’s fantasy trilogy. “Firebrand,” the second title in the series, is his most recently published book. The main character, Thomas, has always been an outsider. The first child born without the power of an element—earth, water, wind, or fire—he has little to offer his tiny, remote Outer Banks colony. Or so the Guardians would have him believe.

In the wake of an unforeseen storm, desperate pirates kidnap the Guardians, intent on claiming the island as their own. Caught between the plague-ridden mainland and the advancing pirates, Thomas and his friends fight for survival in the battered remains of a mysterious abandoned settlement. But the secrets they unearth will turn Thomas’s world upside-down, and bring to light not only a treacherous past but also a future more dangerous than he can possibly imagine. Antony also has excerpts for both “Elemental” and “Firebrand” on his website.

Books will be for sale by Barnes and Noble and a book signing will follow the program.

Originally published at Author Antony John Visits October 16.

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Reader Review: The Steady Running of the Hour

DBRL Next - September 19, 2014

Editor’s note: This review was submitted by a library patron during the 2014 Adult Summer Reading program. We will continue to periodically share some of these reviews throughout the year.

steadyrunningofthehourWith dual stories, the plot develops quickly in “The Steady Running of the Hour” by Justin Go. The WWI background brings to life a period that resonates decades later, with a descendant racing a clock to find out his ancestry. As an interested party to genealogy research, I liked the connection and the questions that were raised – and I felt the same desire that I wanted to talk to these people who came before me. The ending may be a surprise – that may be what I didn’t like about the book, but I am still thinking about it.

Three words that describe this book: historical, engaging, provocative

You might want to pick this book up if: you are interested in WWI. WWI tends to be overshadowed by the Second World War, so this book delves into lives of Europeans at this time period and the aftermath of the next decade. Also, mystery readers will enjoy the plot development.


The post Reader Review: The Steady Running of the Hour appeared first on DBRL Next.

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